Local Libraries: More Than Just Books

Inspired by/adapted from a presentation I gave in my freshman year of college.

When was the last time you visited your local library? Think about it. Now narrow it down to the last time you were at a library because you wanted to be there – not because you had to do research for a school project or fulfill some other kind of obligation.

I know there are many in my audience who are avid readers, so perhaps this question is a little pointless. For us, a trip to the library is no less common than a trip to the grocery store. We thrive in those stacks of books. However, there are many others who aren’t big readers – which is totally okay! – and don’t frequent libraries as much as we do.

Although I still believe local libraries are wonderful places to gain knowledge (there’s only so much the internet can do), they offer more than that. They offer useful services for patrons, but more than anything else, they bring people together. After researching my local library and other libraries around the country, I can say with certainty that they offer much more than books.

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Why I’m Okay With Good vs. Evil Stories

A Good vs. Evil story is usually pretty straightforward. You have the Good Guys on one side, and the Bad Guys on the other side, and you’re almost always cheering for the Good Guys to win. It’s the type of story you see in children’s fairy tales, but that doesn’t make it childish.

Lately, I’ve noticed people tend to steer clear of these types of stories. The argument is that “Good vs. Evil” is too unrealistic – people and societies really aren’t that clear-cut when it comes to morality. In reality, there’s a lot more ambiguity. That’s how we end up with writing advice about giving our villains redeemable qualities and giving our heroes flaws.

And don’t get me wrong, that’s good advice – you do want to have fully developed characters on both sides of the equation, or it isn’t a very fair story. But in the process of giving this advice, we shun the typical good vs. evil stories, calling them cliche, predictable, overdone, and so on and so forth.

But here’s a secret: I’m actually okay with these kinds of stories.

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INTJ Stereotypes in Fiction

Once upon a time, I  went on a Twitter rant. Not about politics or anything important, mind you. It was about personality types, and how absolutely sick I am of always being the villain.

*tiny disclaimer: I’m no expert on personality types. These are just the thoughts of someone who’s tired of being the bad guy.

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I’m on fall break this weekend. That means I’m not at college, I’m at my house for the first time since move in day.

It’s home. 

I made a list of things that I wanted to bring back to college. Books I’d left behind, sweaters for the winter, room decorations and so on. So I set a box in my room and said to myself “that’s the take-home box.”

And then I realized what I’d said. 

Not that it was a great crime against humanity to call my college dorm “home,” I’d just never realized  that I considered it as such. Home was where I was from, the house I’d spent the last four years in. But for the past two months, Messiah College was my home. I ate there, I slept there, I did my laundry there (hauling laundry up four floors is not fun, readers). I had friends there. It was home, but so was my “real” home. 

I don’t know why my mind decided to go down this path – maybe because colleges makes me think a lot – but I started to wonder what “home” really means. 

College is where I spend most of my days now. It’s the address on my voter registration and it’s where I receive my mail. It’s where my friends are. It’s where a good portion of my stuff is, if that counts for anything. I have strong connections there, and although it’s far from everything I grew up knowing, I’ve settled in rather well.

But Macungie is where my family is. It’s where I have my own space (though my roommates are fantastic and are great at giving me space when I need it). It’s where my photos and trinkets and other mementos are. It’s where my church is. I know where everything is in my house, in my town, in my county.

They’re both home, really.

I guess I haven’t thought about it that much because I was afraid to say how I felt about Messiah College. It feels like I’ve accepted it as home too quickly. Most of the other freshmen I’ve talked to still only consider it temporary. I can’t blame them – it’s a rough adjustment. And yes, it is technically temporary. I’ll still be with my family on breaks, and after graduation, I (probably) won’t live on campus anymore. But I will be spending nearly nine out of twelve months of the year at Messiah College, and that will be for the next four years. So really, it is a long-term situation when you think about it.

But anyway, as the saying goes, home is where the heart is. To be honest, my heart is in both places. My heart is here in Macungie, with my family and my church. But my heart is also at Messiah College, with the fantastic friends I’ve made over the last two months.

I don’t have to decide between one or the other. There aren’t any rules that say I can’t, so I’m just going to keep calling them both home. Because that’s what they are to me. And honestly, I couldn’t have picked a better second home to have.

That’s just some stuff that’s been on my mind the last few days. I hope all of you readers are doing well and enjoying the fall weather (if you’re in the northern hemisphere, that is). Have a great day, and I’ll see you next week!